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9,000 dollar prize for RCT which found cognition improved after taking 4,000 IU of Vitamin D for 18 weeks – May 2018

Researcher earns prize for work on Vitamin D

A researcher with UNBC’s Northern Medical Program has been awarded an international prize for her work on vitamin D and cognition.

The Fritz Wörwag Research Prize was presented to Dr. Jacqueline Pettersen, a cognitive-behavioural neurologist, on May 9 in Berlin, Germany.

Her study, which was published in Experimental Gerontology in 2017, demonstrated a significant improvement in visual memory in people who were provided 4,000 International Units of vitamin D per day over 18 weeks.

The award, which includes an 8,000Euro ($12,000 Cdn) cash prize, was established in 1988 by Wörwag Pharma, a German family-owned company, which specializes in nutrients, and it was only the ninth time that the prize has been given out in 30 years.

“To know that my work is being noticed, and to receive such recognition, provides an incredible sense of validation that my research is important and impactful, not just at a local level, but on the world stage,” Pettersen said.

Pettersen was one of two recipients and the only one from North America.

“It was a wonderful experience to be able to meet other researchers from around the world whose interests overlap with mine, and I am excited about the potential opportunities that may arise for international collaboration on future research.


Cognitive category starts with the following

Very brief summary of Cognitive decline
Treatment : Vitamin D intervention slows or stops progression
Prevention : Many observational studies - perhaps Vitamin D prevents
Omega-3 both prevents and treats cognition
Wonder the benefits if both Vitamin D AND Omega-3 were to be used
Dementia page - 50 items

373 items in Cognition category

see also Overview Alzheimer's-Cognition and Vitamin D
Overview Parkinson's and Vitamin D

Studies in both categories of Cognition and:
Cardiovascular (7 studies), Genetics (9 studies), Vitamin D Receptor (16 studies), Omega-3 (49 studies), Intervention (19 studies), Meta-analyses (22 studies), Depression (23 studies), Parkinson's (22 studies)
Click here for details

Poor cognition 26 percent more likely if low Vitamin D (29 studies) – meta-analysis July 2017
Every schizophrenia measure was improved when vitamin D levels were normalized – June 2021
Cognitive Impairment and Dementia often associated with low Vitamin D – April 2020
IQ levels around the world are falling (perhaps lower Vitamin D, Iodine, or Omega-3)
Search VitaminDWiki for "WHITE MATTER" 325 items as of March 2023

Types of evidence that Vitamin D helps brain problems - 2014

List of previous awards to PHDs in biofactors

https://www.woerwagpharma.de/de/ 2018 2 awards – Translated by Google
Fritz Wörwag Research Award: New insights into the neuroprotective effects of biofactors05/10/2018
On the occasion of the Diabetes Congress 2018, the Fritz Wörwag Research Prize was awarded on May 9, which awards new insights into biofactors - this year on the topic "Biofactors for Neuroprotection".

For his work on the influence of genetic variations in the glucose metabolism on the characteristics of diabetic nerve damage (neuropathies), Prof. Dan Ziegler from the Institute for Clinical Diabetology of the German Diabetes Center of the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf received the first prize worth € 10,000. The second prize, worth € 8,000, went to Prof. Jacqueline A. Pettersen from the University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, Canada, for her research on vitamin D and memory.

The work of Ziegler et al. The independent jury considered the "revolutionary approach to the analysis of factors that lead to the development of diabetic complications, in particular diabetic neuropathy." The findings may help explain why some patients suffer from severe nerve damage while others with comparable diabetes attitude and duration runs milder, so the scientist committee. Ziegler and his team had investigated to what extent different gene variants (polymorphisms) of a key enzyme in the sugar metabolism influence the symptoms of diabetic polyneuropathy (1). In more than 500 type-1 or 2 diabetes patients with diabetes for a maximum of one year, they identified nine polymorphisms for the enzyme transketolase and correlated them with clinical and neurophysiological features of neuropathy. There were specific correlations between individual gene variants and certain manifestations of neuropathy.

Key enzyme for avoidance of diabetes complications

Earlier studies suggested that the activity of transketolase could have a decisive influence on the development of diabetic secondary diseases: The enzyme transports intermediate products of glucose breakdown, which accumulate as a result of increased blood sugar, to an alternative pathway. As a result, diseased degradation processes are contained, on which the accumulated intermediates are otherwise converted into vascular-damaging substances.

A clinically relevant relation to the biofactors results from the fact that the transketolase as cofactor vitamin B1 (thiamin) needed; Their activity is therefore also dependent on the supply of the vitamin. In patients with diabetes, however, there is often a lack of thiamine due to an increased excretion via the kidney (2). Previous studies by international research teams have shown that the thiamine precursor benfotiamine can increase transketolase activity and thereby inhibit neuroprotective processes (3,4). Thus, neuropathic symptoms can be alleviated by treatment with benfotiamine (5,6). Ziegler's research now confirms that there is an association between transketolase and the clinical manifestations of neuropathy.

High-dose vitamin D supplementation improved visual memory

The winner of the second prize, Prof. Jacqueline Pettersen, was also involved in another important area of ​​neuroprotection. In a randomized study with 82 healthy adults, the Canadian scientist had investigated the effects of low-dose vitamin D supplementation (400 IU per day) in the Compared to a high-dose (4,000 IU per day) over 18 weeks on cognitive performance has (7). It showed that the non-verbal (visual) memory was improved by the higher-dose supplementation, especially in the participants who had insufficient vitamin D levels (<75 nmol / L) at baseline. On the other hand, no differences in verbal memory and other cognitive performance were observed. Pettersen concludes from the findings,

In the opinion of the jury, the scientist's study "highlights a perspectively very important aspect for the prophylactic or therapeutic administration of a biofactor in view of the increasing problem of dementia." The jurors also praised the very thorough clinical examination.

The Fritz Wörwag Research Prize was awarded for the ninth time this year by the medium-sized family business Wörwag Pharma from Böblingen. Goal of the company founder Dr. Ing. Fritz Wörwag launched the Science Award to support and promote the researchers in the field of clinical application of biofactors. The biofactors include vitamins, minerals, trace elements and vitamin-like substances that can compensate for deficiency symptoms in physiological concentrations and may have pharmacological effects at higher concentrations.

Does high dose vitamin D supplementation enhance cognition?: A randomized trial in healthy adults

Experimental Gerontology https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2017.01.019
Jacqueline A Pettersen

Insufficiency of 25-hydroxyvitamin D 25(OH)D has been associated with dementia and cognitive decline. However, the effects of vitamin D supplementation on cognition are unclear. It was hypothesized that high dose vitamin D3 supplementation would result in enhanced cognitive functioning, particularly among adults whose 25(OH)D levels were insufficient (< 75 nmol/L) at baseline.

Healthy adults (n = 82) from northern British Columbia, Canada (54° north latitude) with baseline 25(OH)D levels ≤ 100 nmol/L were randomized and blinded to High Dose (4000 IU/d) versus Low Dose (400 IU/d) vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) for 18 weeks. Baseline and follow-up serum 25(OH)D and cognitive performance were assessed and the latter consisted of: Symbol Digit Modalities Test, verbal (phonemic) fluency, digit span, and the CANTAB® computerized battery. Results: There were no significant baseline differences between Low (n = 40) and High (n = 42) dose groups. Serum 25(OH)D increased significantly more in the High Dose (from 67.2 ± 20 to 130.6 ± 26 nmol/L) than the Low Dose group (60.5 ± 22 to 85.9 ± 16 nmol/L), p = 0.0001. Performance improved in the High Dose group on nonverbal (visual) memory, as assessed by the
Pattern Recognition Memory task (PRM),

  • from 84.1 ± 14.9
  • to 88.3 ± 13.2, p = 0.043 (d = 0.3)

and Paired Associates Learning Task, (PAL) number of stages completed, from 4.86 ± 0.35 to 4.95 ± 0.22, p = 0.044 (d = 0.5), but not in the Low Dose Group. Mixed effects modeling controlling for age, education, sex and baseline performance revealed that the degree of improvement was comparatively greater in the High Dose Group for these tasks, approaching significance: PRM, p = 0.11 (d = 0.4), PAL, p = 0.058 (d = 0.4). Among those who had insufficient 25(OH)D (< 75 nmol/L) at baseline, the High Dose group (n = 23) improved significantly (p = 0.005, d = 0.7) and to a comparatively greater degree on the PRM (p = 0.025, d = 0.6).

Nonverbal (visual) memory seems to benefit from higher doses of vitamin D supplementation, particularly among those who are insufficient (< 75 nmol/L) at baseline, while verbal memory and other cognitive domains do not. These findings are consistent with recent cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, which have demonstrated significant positive associations between 25(OH)D levels and nonverbal, but not verbal, memory. While our findings require confirmation, they suggest that higher 25(OH)D is particularly important for higher level cognitive functioning, specifically nonverbal (visual) memory, which also utilizes executive functioning processes.

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